WPL: Power-hitter Kiran Navgire opens new avenue for UP Warriorz

PTI | Bengaluru | Updated: 29-02-2024 11:19 IST | Created: 29-02-2024 11:19 IST
WPL: Power-hitter Kiran Navgire opens new avenue for UP Warriorz

Kiran Navgire would not have opened but for a freak shoulder injury to Vrinda Dinesh and now her bruising fifty against the Mumbai Indians might just prompt UP Warriorz to rework their combination at the top in the ongoing Women's Premier League.

Navgire struck a 31-ball 57 and combined with Alyssa Healy (33) to help UPW overhaul a 162-run target in just 16.4 overs against the defending champions last night.

It could shake things up in the line-up, which has till now worked around the far more traditional opening pair of Healy and Vrinda.

''When the innings ended the head coach (Jon Lewis) came up to me and said I had to open. I was happy, because I opened the batting in domestic cricket, and I had the chance to do that here,'' Navgire said in the post-match press meet.

Range hitters are a rare breed in women's cricket and Navgire has opened that option for the UP outfit. The Warriorz have been notoriously slow starters in the WPL with their middle-order batters creaking under massive run-rate pressure.

In their first match against Royal Challengers Bangalore, UP made 36 for 1 and they were 21 for three against the Delhi Capitals in the second game.

But with Navgire coming in as opener, UP made 61 for no loss in the Power Play segment. It was their fastest start, for that matter any team's, in this edition of the WPL.

Navgire, a big fan of former Indian captain MS Dhoni, is not new to opening the innings. She garnered instant attraction during the 2021-22 domestic season as a guest player for Nagaland.

She hammered 35 sixes in the Senior Women's T20 league that season, the most ever in the history of that tournament.

The 29-year-old, who hails from Maharashtra, also became the first Indian woman to score a 150-plus score in T20 when she blasted a 76-ball 162 against Arunachal Pradesh.

Her approach is as simple as the big shots she executes.

''I just played the ball on merit (against MI), played my natural game. If the ball is in my arc, it should go into the stands - that is my natural thought,'' said Navgire.

Her assault on MI pacer Issy Wong in the third over of UPW's chase underlined Navgire's growth into an all-ground batter.

When Wong pitched short, Navgire stood tall and sent the ball to the mid-wicket boundary with a strong pull.

In the next ball, the England pacer pitched the ball further up but Navgire muscled it through mid-off for a four.

MI coach Charlotte Edwards admitted that they were not prepared for Navgire's aggression.

''Kiran Navgire played brilliantly and took the game away from us in the period that she batted and we never quite recovered.

''Firstly, I don't think Navgire was going to open. The injury (to Vrinda), I guess, gave them a licence to put her up in the order. We weren't quite planning for her in the batting,'' said Edwards.

Now that Navgire has the licence to kill, the Warriorz can hope for a more productive WPL season.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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